網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

2. “He governs the world.
3. “He ought to be worshipped.

4. “Doing good is the service most acceptable to him.

5. “Man is immortal.

6. “In the future world the souls of men will be dealt with justly."

It is very evident that Franklin had no great confidence in his theological opinions. He studiously avoided all writing upon the subject, and as far as possible all conversation. Still, with his keen sense of humor, he could not refrain from occasionally plunging a pretty sharp dagger's thrust into the palpable imperfections of the various and contending sects.

There was very little moral power, in the creed he professed, to arrest young men, of glowing passions, and exposed to the most difficult temptations, in their downward career. No voice of Franklin was heard with potency calling upon those who were thronging the broad road. In a lecture upon Providence, to his companions of the Junto, which was subsequently published, and which reflects some considerable honor upon the earnestness of his thoughts, he wrote,

“I am especially discouraged when I reflect that you are all my intimate pot-companions, who have heard me say a thousand silly things in conversation, and therefore have not that laudable partiality and veneration for whatever I shall deliver that good people have for their spiritual guides ; that you have no reverence for my habit, nor for the sanctity of my countenance; that you do not believe me inspired, nor divinely assisted; and therefore will think yourself at liberty to assert, or dissert, approve or disapprove of anything I advance, canvassing and sifting it as the private opinion of one of your acquaintance.”

Though it was Franklin's assumption that his religion was one of works and not of faith, still it must be admitted that his life was very inconsistent with those principles of purity, moral loveliness and good report which the Gospel enjoins. With his remarkable honesty of mind, he records in his biography that he committed many and inost serious delinquencies, wasting his money and endangering his health by reckless excesses; but fortunately for him his constitution was so good that he escaped the penalties which a young man in less robust hcalth might have incurred.

Mr. Parton remarks that it was perhaps owing to the consciousness of frequent errors, and of want of inclination to avoid them, that his liturgy contains no allusion to some of the gross faults he committed,

for "he was too sincere and logical a man to go before his God, and ask assistance against a fault which he had not fully resolved to overcome, and that immediately."

[graphic]
[graphic][merged small][merged small]

Franklin takes a house-His first job-His industry-Plans a

Newspaper-Enters the list as a writer-Advocates a Paper currency-Purchases Keimer's paper-Character of MeredithStruggles of the firm-Unexpected assistance-Dissolves part. nership with Meredith-Franklin's energetic conduct_His courtship, and marriage-Character of Mrs. Franklin-Increase of luxury-Plans for a library-Prosperity of PennsylvaniaCustoms in Philadelphia-Style of dress in 1726-Franklin's social position in Philadelphia–His success—A hard student.

FRANKLIN had now reached the end of life as an apprentice and a journeyman. With his friend Meredith he hired a house in the lower part of Market street, at the rent of about one hundred and twenty dollars a year. A large portion of this house he prudently re-let to another mechanic who was a member of the Junto. It would seem that Meredith was disappointed in the amount of money he expected to raise. Consequently after utterly exhausting their stock of cash, they still found it ne. cessary to run deeply into debt for those appurtenances of a printing office which were absolutely necessary.

Just as they got ready for work, quite to their delight, a countryman came in introduced by one of the Junto, George House, who wanted a five shilling job executed.

“ This man's five shillings,” writes Franklin, “ being our first fruits, and coming so seasonably, gave me more pleasure than any crown I have since earned. And from the gratitude I felt toward House, has made me often more ready, than perhaps I otherwise should have been, to assist young beginners."

The two young men devoted themselves to their work, with assiduity which was a sure precursor of success. Often Franklin was found diligently employed until eleven o'clock at night. His industry and energy soon attracted attention. A gentleman living near the office said to some of his friends :

“ The industry of that Franklin is superior to anything I ever saw of the kind. I see him still at work when I go home from the club, and he is at work again before his neighbors are out of bed.”

This statement produced such an impression upon a merchant who was present, that he called upon the young men and offered to supply them with stationery on credit. Franklin's literary taste, and his remarkable success as a writer, led him ever to

a

n

« 上一頁繼續 »